Costa Concordia's 2.5-Year Journey Finally Nearing Its End

Residents of the island of Giglio no longer have the Costa Concordia on their shoreline, and for some of them that's a bittersweet realization.

Costa Concordia's 2.5-Year Journey Finally Nearing Its End
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The two-and-a-half-year saga of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship is nearing its end, at least if all goes well, and the ship's rusting hulk no longer sits off the tiny Italian island of Giglio. (Via Getty Images)

The ship began a 200-mile journey Wednesday heading to the port city of Genoa where it will be cut up and sold for scrap. (Via Google Maps)

The unprecedented salvage operation has been plagued by delays and ballooning costs. The operation was originally planned for January of 2013, but kept getting pushed back by bad weather and technical difficulties.

The ship ran aground in January of 2012 before capsizing and killing 32 people. The tragedy became international news, in part because it was hard to imagine how it could happen in the first place. (Via Getty Images)

"It is unbelievable ... that this could happen to a 21st-century ship at a time when, clearly, everything is designed with safety in mind. ... There's echoes of Titanic." (Via BBC)

The answer seemed equally unbelievable. Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of sailing the vessel into an unsafe area as a stunt. "The nautical charts showed it was just water." (Via  ITN)

And he's also accused of abandoning the ship and refusing to get back on board when ordered to by a coast guard captain. Schettino is still on trial for manslaughter. (Via La Repubblica)

Now that the wreck is finally mobile again, several outlets are taking stock of its impact. 

Both The Guardian and CNN interviewed residents of the Giglio who say the Costa Concordia and the salvage teams have changed their little island forever. 

One woman told The Guardian, "I must admit, there's a small part of me that might miss it. The lights at night. It makes a certain impression."

Another told CNN, "​When the ship is gone, it will be like this island is dying twice. ... We are going to die here without that boat."

But while the ship has left Giglio, it's not out of the woods. It'a making the 200-mile journey at the sluggish pace of around 2 knots, and all the while there's the risk the rotting frame could give way, spelling another environmental catastrophe. If all goes well, it's set to finally reach port sometime this weekend.